The spinning wheel wasn't invented until 1000 AD, but before that, people needed to use something to spin fiber into thread. So what would they use? A drop spindle! In this activity, kids learn how to make a drop spindle with a handy vegetable. It may seem like a challenge to use a drop spindle, but people have been doing it for thousands of years. In the Middle Ages, kids started spinning with a drop spindle when they were only four years old!
A drop spindle has 3 parts, the shaft, the whorl, and the hook. The shaft is a made from a long dowel with a pointed end at the bottom. The hook goes on the top of the dowel, opposite of the pointed end. Finally, the whorl is a round weight that sits on the shaft. The purpose of the whorl is to add weight to help the spindle spin more easily. Historical whorls were made of stone, wood, metal or clay, but vegetables are so much easier to work with!